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Confinement Dos and Donts

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#1 burgundywine


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Posted 06 September 2007 - 03:28 PM

Hi mummies,

Please share your knowledge/ experience for dos and donts during confinement.
I heard that during that period cannot go out of house, afraid to 'catch wind'?! Cannot bath and wash hair? :lol:
Must drink red date water everyday. etc, etc,....

I know there are many 'rules and regulations'. Can you tell what you know off or practised.

#2 mummyally


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Posted 06 September 2007 - 10:59 PM

Confinement taboos

These traditional approaches stem from the belief that newborn babies are more easily infected by illnesses, and in the olden days of high infant mortality, it became a practice to keep both baby and mother indoors during a period of confinement. Today, many of these old beliefs are still practised in varying degrees. If you are inclined to follow suit, bear in mind that everything should be in moderation.

The Chinese have a confinement period of 1 month. But they are also advised to restrain from sexual activities for 100 days. During this 1 month confinement period, a confinement lady is normally employed for a month to live with the family and take care of the new mother and baby.

There are 5 definite taboos during the Chinese confinement period. The new mother is not allowed to wash her hair during the entire period. The reason generally given for this is that washing your hair after delivery is believed to affect the discharge of "unclean matter" from the womb, and to cause various physical irregularities like slackened internal organs, waist pains, poor blood circulation and dark pigmentation. For this reason, many Chinese women prefer to cut their hair short before delivery. Dry shampoos are a common alternative. These are available at all leading pharmacies. Bathing is only done with Chinese herb infused hot water only. These special herbs are available at all Chinese Medical Halls.

Another big no-no is excessive sweating and coming into contact with wind. The thinking behind this is that sweating further expands the pores allowing wind to enter the weakened body. Therefore, new mothers are advised not to consume foods that are too hot, and to wipe away sweat immediately.

Reading books and watching TV are also not recommended for more than 15 minutes because the eyes are thought to age first. Similarly, crying is also not encouraged.

For up to 6 months after delivery, new Chinese mothers are advised not to carry heavy loads to avoid the further slackening of internal organs and to prevent backaches. The right way to carry your baby is to sit, carry, then stand.

Water and cold drinks are not consumed for 21 days after delivery because they are thought to have a bad effect on the metabolism, causing among other things, rheumatism. Chinese women generally drink rice wine with the alcohol evaporated and the red date water.

The Indians practice a 40 day confinement period, where they rest and recover in their mothers’ houses. Traditionally, all Indian mothers are only allowed to take herbal baths and receive a special massage with mustard oil daily. In some very traditional families, they consider the first week after delivery a period of pollution for the entire Indian family. Therefore, a ceremony may be held on the seventh day to remove the pollution.

The Malays observe the tempoh berpantang or taboo period for 44 days. Traditionally, a woman spends her confinement in her family home where she is attended by her mother and the bidan. The bidan will normally come to the house for three days to perform urut to release stress and help the body to recover quickly. During confinement, the bidan may warm the new mother’s abdomen by applying a smooth, heated stone (bertungku). This is specifically reputed to "cleanse the womb" (menaikkan rahim) to prevent illness, speed the shrinking of the uterus and therefore return a pre-pregnancy figure.

Got this from the wonderful world of the internet! :)

I can tell you this much ; I did not follow any of the taboo. I bathed and washed my hair on the second day after my delivery at the hospital. I couldnt stand the sweaty skin and oily hair.Plus my MIL did the confinement for me and she's kinda modern so she didnt follow much. Just cooked me food but not those authentic confinement food more like normal dishes but add kei chi and tons of ginger. I spent the first 15 mins of each mealtime picking out the ginger bits. I didnt eat much rice but I took lots of steamed cod fish which was good for breastfeeding moms as I found that my milk supply increased. And I think she got sick cooking the same type of food everyday that towards the end she asked if I wanted McD. Lol

But I took lots of those herbs in pill forms from Eu Yan Seng and I drank plenty of soups. Its very difficult not to touch water since I took care of Ashley single handedly during my confinement. Everyone is looking at me one kind each time I told them that I bathed Ashley myself. What's wrong with that?

Anyway you can choose to follow but remember to do things in moderation

#3 mummyally


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Posted 07 September 2007 - 01:45 PM

Post Natal Diet / Confinement Diet

During pregnancy, the baby is like a parasite and will take all the nutrients that he requires from you. If your diet is sufficient in nutrients for both, it does not cause any problems. If on the other hand your diet is insufficient for both, then your recovery after the birth will take longer and if you still do not replenish your body stores during the confinement period, you may remain weak for a long time. This is probably why our elders make such a lot of fuss about eating well during the confinement period.

Wherever you are in the world, everyone will try and tell you what to eat and if possible how to eat it. The most important thing to do is follow your own body's needs. Whatever you eat, do make sure that you have a good balance of proteins, vitamins, minerals, fats, carbohydrates, and water in every meal.

Just remember the following pointers:

1. If you are breast feeding whatever you eat will be transferred to your baby via your breast milk therefore it is important that you eat a balanced diet so that your baby will get the right nutrients for optimum growth and development.

2. Some food does cause the baby to become 'windy' or have loose stools. If you find that your baby is suddenly quite unsettled, try and think of what you ate during the last 12 hours. Avoid that food for a few days and then try again. If the same happens again, then you should avoid that particular food for a while and re-introduce it into your diet by taking a very small amount and see how baby reacts then slowly increase the amount so that baby gets used to the food.

3. You may find that your appetite is slightly low especially during the first week. This is normal as your body is readjusting to its non-pregnant state both physically and mentally therefore it is better to have small frequent meals instead of the normal 3 big meals a day.

4. You need to drink plenty of fluids in order to make sufficient breast milk and if you are forbidden to drink water, you can get the amount of fluid from other sources such as soup.

So what should you eat?

Most Eastern cultures believe that your body is cold after delivery therefore you should avoid cooling or cold food but eat a lot of yang or ‘heaty' food to warm the body up. However, if you are normally a yang person, eating too much ‘heaty' food may cause rashes and fever. In this case it would be better to reduce the amount of ‘heaty' food and eat more neutral food. If you are normally a Yin person, you should not have any problems eating ‘heaty' food (lucky devils). The following table gives you a quick review of the types of food to eat or avoid.

Types of food to avoid

‘Cooling food' for example: banana, cabbage, cucumber, coconut and Chinese cabbage
Contribute to mother's poor blood circulation and stomach ache in the baby if you are breastfeeding. Salt as a condiment and salty foods in general are to be rejected, too, in the belief that use reduces breast milk production

‘Acidic food' for example: pineapple, mango, lemon, lime
Contribute to excessive lochia in the mother and diarrhea in the baby.

Too much ‘Heaty food' for example: chilli, pepper, spices, tonics, spirits and medicines.
Contribute to diarrhea in the baby and maternal headaches

‘Windy food' for example: jackfruit, tapioca, pumpkin, onions.
Contribute to baby being colicky and may cause indigestion for mother and baby.

Poisonous food such as prawns, shellfish, crab, eel, ginger
Delay healing of the mother's wound and may cause allergies and eczema in the baby. These foods may cause stomach upsets and vomiting

Type of food recommended

To improve milk production

Chicken, squid, clams (small varieties), fish (especially carp), millet, mutton, pork, rice wine, sea slug, soybean milk mixed with powdered walnuts, wheat cakes, wheat noodles with egg, green papaya

To provide strength to the mother so she recovers quickly from the exertion of labor.
Chicken, frog, Panax ginseng, licorice extract and razor clam

What you eat also depends on what you believe in and who cooks for you. If it is your mother or MIL you may not have many choices. I have seen women quarrelling and not talking to each other because of this issue. Try and work out a compromise which is acceptable to both parties. Use a persuasive and logical approach instead of confrontation.

#4 Baby


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Posted 25 February 2008 - 06:59 PM


Wanna ask the following

1. Can we bath during the confinement month? unsure.gif
2. Can I wash my hair during confinement month? I heard now we can buy the chinese herb if we want to wash hair during confinement. ohmy.gif

#5 amandachew


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Posted 25 February 2008 - 07:29 PM

QUOTE (Baby @ Feb 25 2008, 06:59 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Wanna ask the following

1. Can we bath during the confinement month? unsure.gif
2. Can I wash my hair during confinement month? I heard now we can buy the chinese herb if we want to wash hair during confinement. ohmy.gif


What i get from the book is saying:
1. The skin pores are opened after giving birth so taking showers during this period will eventually cause rheumatism, if the body catches cold, unwanted clogged blood will not be easily expelled. It is suggested during the 1st 12 days to use warm water or herds to rub and clean the body. After 12 days, hot showers is allowed. Not taking showers for 30 days during confinement will result infections.

2. U can use those dry shampoo to clean up ur hair.

#6 nanako128


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Posted 05 September 2012 - 09:49 PM

Off course can take bath but with hot shower! Keep urself hygience since u going to breast feed ur child! The old style not allow bathing was because old day they use water from the well or some due to the weather. But we are living in m'sia and not china.
As for the hair, well, I wash mine every 3-4days. First I than for 10 days without washing and use dry shampoo. But at last I got dandruff which drive me to nut and I decided wash it since my gynea said keep urself clean. Wash and blow dry Immediately.